« Strange Brew

Family diverts an entire plane because of the in-flight movie, Alex Cross

by Jon Henseler

NBC– A violent in-flight movie apparently proved to be too much for a family traveling with kids, setting off a chain of events that led to the pilot diverting the flight and an airline taking a second look at its entertainment offerings. The incident happened on a United flight from Denver to Baltimore on Feb. 2, but is just now coming to light after the family wrote about the experience in a letter to The Atlantic. In the missive, a Baltimore man – whose name has been withheld – said he was traveling with his wife and their 4-year-old and 8-year-old sons when the movie “Alex Cross” began to play on drop-down screens above the seats. The film is rated PG-13, according to the Internet Movie Database, which summarizes the plot this way: “A homicide detective is pushed to the brink of his moral and physical limits as he tangles with a ferociously skilled serial killer who specializes in torture and pain.” Alarmed by the opening scenes, the passenger said he asked two flight attendants to turn off the monitor nearest his kids, but was told it could not be done and that crew members had no authority or ability to change or turn off the movie. The family then asked if the captain could address the issue, but received no response, according to the letter. About an hour later, the pilot announced the flight was being diverted to Chicago, where authorities questioned the family and the airline booked them on the next flight to Baltimore Washington International Airport, the man wrote. 

I've got to say I'm sort of divided on this one. On the one hand, costing a whole plane full of people 4 hours of their life because you thought the in-flight movie was too violent seems a bit selfish. But at the same time saving an entire group of people from being trapped into watching a Tyler Perry movie makes this family seem like heroes. Because make no mistake about it, I haven't seen a single second of this movie, but I would be irate if I were trapped on a plane and this came on. I mean you've already got the recycled air everyone is breathing, the crying baby and the battle for the armrest. A Tyler Perry movie on top of that makes it seem like a scene from Zero Dark Thirty. Like that is some Guantanamo Bay stuff. 

Also, this can't be good promotion for Alex Cross can it? Like when someone puts your movie in and they have to flat out stop a flight that can't be good? Or is this a 'any promotion is good promotion' type of deal. Because I'll tell you what, the more I've typed on this blog, the more I sneaky want to see a movie that ended a flight. Well played Tyler Perry. I don't understand your shows but dammit do I respect your bottom line.

PS: Do people even watch the in flight movie anymore? My girl Lindsey and I were flying to Arizona for spring training last year and as soon as people were allowed to turn on electronics everyone whipped out their Kindles and iPads and iPods and laptops with Netflix. Which I have none of. So I was the one guy who was paying $7 for headphones that a Chinese kid made for 10 cents so I could watch My Week With Marilyn. Even the stewardess was shocked that I wanted headphones. First pair she's sold since 1998.

Double PS: Love the crew reaction of 'we have no authority' to turn the movie off. Classic. I've done that every single day of every job I've ever worked at. Why can't you play that song? I have no authority to play that song. Why don't you spell check your blogs? I have no authority to do that. It's the best answer because it works every time.